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|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
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Author Topic: May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass  (Read 2519 times)

Posts: 131

May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
« on: 05/29/10, 04:20 PM »

Lured by the newly-opened highway and hope of fresh Memorial Day snow, we headed up to Chinook Pass Saturday AM.  We did a couple of laps up Yakima Peak.  Weather was misty with light snow at times.  The fresh snow was there.  The word "cement" is thrown around too lightly sometimes, but this was the real deal.  Some excellent pile-driver face plants were executed.  Not the finest skiing, but much better than being at home.

Stability was good.  A compression test up on Yakima Peak slid at 9 taps from the wrist, Q3, but the shear was very deep in the saturated goo.  The fresh snow was very well bonded to the surface beneath.

Saw a few other folks out skiing, some more arriving as we left about 1:30.

Posts: 304

Re: May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
« Reply #1 on: 05/29/10, 09:03 PM »

We 3 did laps there, too and probably saw you. Not too heavy to ski, but a bit too foggy to see well. The photo is not photoshopped and gives a good impression of sense of where the surface was.  Quite a few plants of various sorts for us, too. Saw lots of skier and boarders at the lower lot as we went up to the Yakima Pk lot. East facing slopes were easier than west facing. Be careful if the sun comes out tomorrow. The snow is really saturated.

* 100529-Chinook-Paz-Fred-sm.jpg (49.6 KB, 600x450 - viewed 792 times.)

Posts: 82

Re: May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
« Reply #2 on: 05/29/10, 09:27 PM »

Skiers, blessed, dance with gravity
Witness the face plant

Posts: 312

Re: May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
« Reply #3 on: 05/29/10, 09:29 PM »

wow, redshift - this is very good!

Posts: 304

Re: May 29, 2010, Chinook Pass
« Reply #4 on: 05/30/10, 07:57 AM »

Thank you, redshift! Very nice.

Photos make it look like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" flying, but I think of it actually as Vegetarian skiing:  lots of plants, little carving.
« Last Edit: 05/30/10, 08:02 AM by Don_B » Logged
ron j

Posts: 2594

Re: May 30, 2010, Chinook Pass
« Reply #5 on: 05/30/10, 06:24 PM »

Nothing like some firm Maine Noisy Corn in near June to make your day!!
A good half inch of edge purchase for carving is all that a guy needs... Shush... Shush... Shush... on and on... this Rocks. Opps, didn't see that wind ridge coming up. Visibility sucks. Exciting. Should find my uptrack for some depth perception…
Better slow down. Damn... busted through... almost bought on that one. Huummm. Better side slip a bit and see what's comin' up....

But I digress...
My Regulars (and others) were caught up in other activities, venues or motivations so I decided to go after Chinook, solo. Doesn't happen often but I am always somehow drawn to the contrast of a solo foray on the mountains in compared to one with ski partners. A solo outing's a "completely different ball game", at least to me.
The previous day's reports (above, thanks to Greg Simon and Don B, for that) did not look good, snow conditions wise.
Looking out at 4:30 am there was little cloud cover. That meant to me that there was a good chance that the surface snow might have firmed up some.
Pulling in to the second long westbound pullout west if the summit (just above Tipsoo Lk) before 8:00AM, I had designs on refrozen snow from Saturday. Pulling my shovel to chop some steps in the 15 foot road cut I gained the top surface of the road cut to encounter about a foot of boot penetration and at least half of that on skis. Hummm. This may turn out to be one of those "at least we got some good exercise" days.
As I started up the north facing ridge with the surface crust breaking through 4 to 6 inches with skis, I thought "I sure hope that sun yesterday softened up that south facing slope of Naches enough to allow it to refreeze nicely. Otherwise I might need to turnaround early or else rack up a few ‘torture points’ Smiley
As I topped out on the ridge my hopes soared as the snow firmed up.
As I started up the south facing pitch I stopped to affix ski crampons ( partly out of hope and partly out of need – I  wanted to take a steeper/higher than usual line up through the tree band at the east end of the ridge). The ski crampons turned out to be a good call as I got out onto the open south facing slopes on the way to Naches (ski) summit. The higher I went the firmer it got. For the last 500 feet there was zero ski pen. I stopped to snap some pics of some great,flower-like rime formations

on the trees but  was reminded to ”hurry up” as similar ice loads came crashing down reminding me again that despite the increasing cloud cover the temperature was rising and the quicker I got started down the more fun I was going to have.
Ski and boot pen at the top was almost nil.

You got the gist of the trip down in the beginning.
Once back to the ridge the snow was again deep and heavy so I opted to follow my mellow uptrack down instead of skiing into the north facing bowl. I met several folks using my uptrack on my way down, but unfortunately they were going to be too late to sample the goods, except for maybe just off the top.
No instabilities noted , even though I expected some tricky stuff in the soft stuff coming down (pole pen was usually over a foot when breaking through the top crust) I cut a very steep slope on the way down the north facing ridge with ski pen over a foot and nothing moved below me.


"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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